China to implement plastic recycling standards this year

China recycling inspections ports that solid waste
Chinese customs officials inspect waste materials

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation has said new plastic recycling standards will be introduced this year.

While it isn’t clear as yet whether China will allow some material to be imported under these standards, China has previously told the World Trade Organisation that it will permit import of material that meets its national mandatory quality standards.


Details of what is contained in these new national standards have yet to emerge, but it is believed the GB/T 40006.1-2021 Plastics. Recycled Plastics Part 1: General Rules document will set out overall specifications on the name of the polymer, terminology, odour levels, restricted substance content and radioactivity levels for all plastic types.

This will be implemented on 1 December 2021.

GB/T 40006.2-2021 Plastics. Recycled Plastics: Part 2: Polyethylene (PE) materials will also be implemented on the same date, as will GBT 4006.3-2021 Plastics. Recycled Plastics: Part 3: Polypropylene (PP) materials.

Eventually, these will be followed by:

  • Part 4: Polyolefin mixture materials
  • Part 5: Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) materials
  • Part 6: Polystyrene (PS) materials
  • Part 7: Polycarbonate (PC) materials
  • Part 8: Polyamide (PA) materials
  • Part 9: Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) materials.

China banned the import of recycled plastics in 2018.

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